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Thread: Montreal: student strike, mohawk town, spring arrives, posters (56K on strike)

  1. #1

    Montreal: student strike, mohawk town, spring arrives, posters (56K on strike)

    I. STUDENT STRIKE

    about 250,000 cégep and university students across quebec are on strike right now to protest $103 million in student bursaries. on wednesday, there was a large march in montreal that attracted anywhere from 30,000 to 100,000 students (the former being the police's unofficial estimate, the latter being the organizers' estimate).

    we start at the corner of park and sherbrooke, where the police have closed the street. the march had started earlier in the east end and was now culminating in front of premier jean charest's montreal office on sherbrooke street, also, coincidentally, in front of mcgill's front gates (mcgill was not a part of the stike on wednesday, but it did vote that afternoon to hold a one-day strike last friday and might hold another one-day strike on this coming thursday).











































    i didn't notice too many nazis among the student activists, so i think this guy's just looking for a party to crash.





    student reporter putting on the charm...







    II. POST-PROTEST

    after picking up some books from the library, i headed down peel street to catch the bus home.











    III. SATURDAY AFTERNOON

    up in the petite patrie/little italy area.











    IV. SUNDAY: PEOPLE AND POSTERS

    today was warm, sunny and very spring-like, so i wandered down to the plateau.











    corner of mont-royal and st-denis.









    maybe it was just me, but the gender ratio on st-denis this afternoon seemed totally skewed.















    i found a snappy new pin-striped grey blazer on bernard street.





    V. KAHNAWAKE

    kahnawake is a mohawk (iroquois) territory in the south shore suburbs of montreal, located about 20 minutes by car from downtown (in no traffic) across the mercier bridge. with a mohawk-language school and a cultural centre that includes a library and a one-year intensive mohawk immersion course, kahnawake is a beacon of mohawk culture.

    i was there for one of my university courses and i was quite surprised with what i found. the territory consists of a rapidly-growning town of about 8,000 people. since there's no zoning, it's totally haphazard, with an incomprehensible street system and -- get this -- no street names. most montrealers come here to shop (there's no tax), but there's unfortunately a bit of stigma surrounding it, probably stemming from the 1990 oka standoff on the nearby kanesatake reserve and negative news stories about a local political controversy.

    what's most interesting is the old part of town, along the st. lawrence, which dates back to the french regime. there are some narrow streets lined by 18th century stone cottages and one of the oldest churches in the montreal area, which includes a shrine to kateri (catherine) tekakwitha, whom you'll know if you've ever read leonard cohen's fantastic beautiful losers. unfortunately, the territory has no conservation laws, which means some owners have even torn down some of the town's oldest buildings or bastardized them with vinyl siding. my guide told me there's a movement to establish a historic district and restore the old town.

    after that long introduction, these photos are a pretty ****ty offering. i only had a few hours in town, most of which were spent listening to a lecture at the cultural centre, so this is all you get. i definitely encourage montrealers to check this place out, though.












  2. #2
    Cyburbian AubieTurtle's avatar
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    A couple random thoughts:

    Even if the number of protesters were closer to 30k than 100k, that's still quite a turn out. It's always seemed to me that protests and strikes are an accepted part of French (and French-Canadian) culture, whereas here in the states such activities are pretty much frowned on.

    The photos from the Mohawk area are interesting in that it seems that Native American developments, especially in the northern areas, have a crazy amount of crisscrossing utility lines.
    As democracy is perfected, the office of president represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron. - H.L. Mencken

  3. #3
    quebec is definitely in a league of its own when it comes to these sorts of things. on virtually all social and political issues, quebec is significantly more left-leaning than the rest of canada (which in turn is significantly more left-leaning, as a whole, than the united states). this is totally quantifiable, too; just look at any number of surveys or polls and you'll see a marked difference in the quebec response.

    protests here are common; yesterday there was a protest against the iraq war that attracted between a thousand and five thousand people. on friday, there was a protest outside the convention centre, where the conservative party of canada is holding their policy convention. here's a description from an american blogger who recently moved to montreal:

    About 40 members of the Montreal queer activist group “the Pink Panthers” demonstrated in front of a conference center where Conservative Party leader Stephen Harper – an opponent of gay marriage and abortion - was appearing. They arrived in a vehicle topped with a papier-mache likeness of Stephen Harper in a, umm, homosexually compromising position with a pink panther. Some of the other protesters came dressed as bishops and pink pigs – the latter a comment on police brutality.

    she added, "if a group staged a demonstration like this against Bush or any other conservative Republicans, first of all they wouldn't be allowed anywhere near the convention hall, they would receive little or no press coverage, and they might well be arrested for indecency. The idea of their tactics being received with humor is inconceivable (not that many of us wouldn't think it was funny) - there would be outrage and disgust and a huge flap on conservative talk shows. If we can't handle Janet Jackson's bare breast, we certainly couldn't handle this. In other words, it wouldn't be worth it."

    i moved to montreal from calgary, a city that isn't nearly as conservative as many canadians make it out to be but is still pretty american in outlook. the only significant protests i remember took place when the G8 held their summit in the rockies in 2002 and calgary became the staging ground for all of the activists. there was a march that attracted about 5,000 people; it was the largest protest in calgary's history, i think, and it was highly controversial -- and this in a city of a million people!
    Last edited by christopher dewolf; 21 Mar 2005 at 12:10 AM.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian jordanb's avatar
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    Chris, you wear your stereotypes thick sometimes. There was a very large anti-war protest here on Sunday as well (as well as across the country), and the local Fox (yes FOX) affiliate devoted a full five-minute segment to it.

    As far as gay activists... how about this: gay activists chasing Tom Tunney (a gay alderman) and John Stroger (the commissioner of Cook County) down in the streets and demanding that the county officiate gay marriages.

  5. #5
    i certainly didn't mean to imply that protests were uncommon in the united states, jordan.

    besides, the entire bit about the gay activists was quoted from a blog -- i thought they were salient observations because they came from an american. don't think i have forgotten that the gay rights movement was born in the united states. i seriously doubt it is less outspoken or active than it is in canada!

  6. #6
    Cyburbian abrowne's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by jordanb
    Chris, you wear your stereotypes thick sometimes. There was a very large anti-war protest here on Sunday as well (as well as across the country), and the local Fox (yes FOX) affiliate devoted a full five-minute segment to it.
    Coverage is one thing, but slant is another.

    The french-language placards were oh-so-quaint.

  7. #7
    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
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    A friend of mine just got back from Montreal and was talking about this protest. Like me, she is from Texas and is not used to seeing strikes and protests other than baseball, especially from students.

    "Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

    - Herman Göring at the Nuremburg trials (thoughts on democracy)

  8. #8
    You keep whetting my appetite for a visit. Thanks for sharing the images!

    I have a question: please tell me an optometrist has his offices in this building:

    http://www.urbanphoto.net/temp/montr...e/DSCF7693.JPG

    A quick question, and it may be that you don't know the answer: If there are no street names, how does the fire department know where to go in an emergency?
    On pitching to Stan Musial:
    "Once he timed your fastball, your infielders were in jeopardy."
    Warren Spahn

  9. #9
    Cyburbian abrowne's avatar
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    The great Quebecois people have no such use for the evil Anglais ideas, especially 'emergency services.'

    Practically, I don't know. It's a problem in a lot of areas - Toronto recently passed a law for uniform address numbering-style on buildings within the municipality. I believe the law also may have renamed a few duplicate or confusing streets.

  10. #10
    Cyburbian jmello's avatar
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    There is a linguistic protest in this photo too. Does everyone see it?

  11. #11
    Cyburbian Michele Zone's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by jmello
    There is a linguistic protest in this photo too. Does everyone see it?
    Do you mean the "Y" added to the "Universite' " sign? (Sorry, my English-speaking computer doesn't do proper accent marks. )

  12. #12
    maudit anglais
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    Quote Originally posted by Michele Zone
    Do you mean the "Y" added to the "Universite' " sign? (Sorry, my English-speaking computer doesn't do proper accent marks. )
    It actually is spelled "rue university". Not sure why the "y" looks funny.

  13. #13
    Cyburbian Michele Zone's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Tranplanner
    It actually is spelled "rue university". Not sure why the "y" looks funny.
    wierd.....

  14. #14
    Cyburbian jmello's avatar
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    Perhaps its covering a Francophone inserted "é" ?

  15. #15
    Quote Originally posted by jmello
    Perhaps its covering a Francophone inserted "é" ?
    you mean the original "y" was covered by an "é" which was then covered up with another "y"? that seems a bit unlikely...

  16. #16
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    On a related note, the McGill student body (via an online voting system) voted down to have a second one-day strike.

  17. #17
    Cyburbian jmello's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by christopher dewolf
    you mean the original "y" was covered by an "é" which was then covered up with another "y"? that seems a bit unlikely...
    Will you take a closer look next time you're in that part of town? The "Y" definitely looks strange.

  18. #18
    Cyburbian The One's avatar
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    Wow

    I haven't seen that many overhead power lines and utilities since my last trip to downtown Ciudad Juarez I must be getting old....I look at all those young faces and think.....get a job hippies......he he he he....
    Skilled Adoxographer

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